yellow and white flowersGreetings from Bagshot

The weather this year has been good for plants - warm but not scorching and a reasonable amount of rain.  Garden flowers have done particularly well and farmers seem happy.

We are now well into a programme of roadworks on the M3 to make it a "Smart Motorway".  The road was originally built, as with most of our motorways, as three lanes plus a hard shoulder which serves as a refuge for vehicles that break down and as a route for emergency vehicles in the event of an accident.  "Smart Motorway" seems to me to be a euphenism for hard shoulder running - its use at busy times as a carriageway under the control of signs on overhead gantries.  However this 'upgrade' involves a lot more than just putting in the gantries - the hard shoulder was never intended to take any significant traffic and so has to be dug up and relaid with a new foundation that is suitable for heavy traffic.  This results in lane closures and a lot more traffic on the A30 through the village. The first 'smart motorway' I encountered was the southern end of the M1 - and frankly I hate it. If the inside lane were consistently under gantry control it might be OK but this seems to swap with permanent 4-lane running with no hard shoulder and the likes of me constantly trying to work out just what the pattern is on the bit of road I am driving on. We will have to wait and see how it is arranged on the M3.

orange trumpet-like flowers with yellow and red dashes

Updates to the website since the Christmas newsletter include

mauve veined flowers

Patience is a virtue. Several enquiries have been resolved many years after they were first put online. So allow me to repeat my plea that if you change your email address please let me know so that you do not miss out on any follow-up.

a small bank of purple flowers growing over a low stone wall

HM the Queen's 90th Birthday

We celebrated HM Queen Elizabeth's 90th birthday on St George's Day, Sat 23 April 2016, with a parade and street party outside St Anne's Church.

White covered tables set out in a roadThe afternoon's events were preceded in the morning with preparations including hanging bunting and bringing in tables and chairs from the Parish Hall and the BPFA Pavilion, and setting up the few stalls that would accompany the party. Then the introduction of the obligatory Traffic Management Plan to facilitate the closure of about 100 yards of road in front of the Church and Vicarage. Now the Scout's leaders could erect a marquee across the road (no doubt then the road is closed) and put the chairs for the band in it, while others set up tables and chairs. The tables were covered with white paper, which proved to be quite a challenge in the wind.  Pots of crayons were put out and the children encouraged to draw pictures. I trust that their parents made clear that this was not a practice to try at home!

Scouts in uniform The afternoon started with the Church bells being rung and the Scouts and Guides marching down from the pavilion. At the church they formed up and re-affirmed the promise they made when they joined the movement. This is a Scout tradition carried out each St George's Day - though seldom in such a public forum.

people listening to a speaker Group Captain Marcus Wills CVO OBE regaled the assembly with stories of his time flying RAF VC10 aircraft transporting Her Majesty the Queen and other members of our and foreign Royal families. 

Children wearing crowns and waving flags escorted in a lovely sponge birthday cake. Everyone sang Happy Birthday and the National Anthem, the Vicar gave a blessing for Her Majesty and the village, and we toasted the Queen with a drop of bubbly.

A seated band wearing maroon uniforms   People in small groups

Musical entertainment was provided throughout the afternoon by Bagshot Concert Band and by saxophonist Bob Webb.  The unseasonally cold weather did not dampen anyone's enthusiasm and a good time was had by all.

Village day - 25 June 2016

Bagshot Business Association organise "Village Days" once or twice a year when the High Street is taken over for stalls and entertainment.  This year's featured a display of vintage and classic cars which lined the High Street.  Entertainment was provided by bands and singers at three different location, and by the Morris Dancers.  The weather was kind, though not hot.

Morris dancers in white and blue uniforms dancing in a street a roundabout set out in a street a vintage car painted green and gold with red upholstery an old black police car with a bell on the front five motor scooters an array of pick and mix sweets

Swinley Forest

Swinley Forest is the Crown Estate land to the north of the village.  I have previously reported on the extensive forestry work being carried - felling lots of pine that has reached the end of its life and replanting with mixed deciduous trees.  While the result looks a mess in the short term I am sure that in the fullness of time the woodland will be very pleasant.  The most recent work has been grubbing out vast areas of rhodedendrons.  This follows their removal from the edge of Rapley Lake some years ago. Again the result is tracts of bare, and apparently barren, ground beneath the trees.  While rhodedendron are attractive when in flower that are not native, are invasive and completely suppress the diverse flora one would normally expect to find in English woodland.

The two photograhs below were taken near Rapley Lake.  The first shows cleared land waiting to be repopulated by native plants, and the second a corner of the lake with cleared land beyond. The flowering water lilies already demonstrating the benefit of the clearance.

trees with bare ground below water with flowering water lillies and trees beyond


fern growing in a pot against a backdrop of green foliage and a few white flowers. With best wishes to you and those you hold dear.

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